The Battle of Gideon Today--Part 3
May 22, 2009
In Isaiah 10:24-27, the prophet speaks of the time when God will deliver "My people who dwell in Zion" (vs. 24) and remove their "yoke." Every deliverance in the past, both national and personal, can point to this passage and say that it was accomplished according to this pattern. However, there is a great fulfillment yet ahead on a worldwide scale. Isaiah tells us that this deliverance will be patterned after two biblical events--God's deliverance of Israel from Egypt, and secondly from Midian in the days of Gideon.
" (26) And the Lord of hosts will arouse a scourge against him like the slaughter of Midian at the rock of Oreb; and His staff will be over the sea, and He will lift it up the way He did in Egypt." (27) So it will be in that day that his burden will be removed from your shoulders and his yoke from your neck, and the yoke will be broken because of shemen [anointing oil].
Yoke is a word indicating captivity (Deut. 28:48). It comes either as an iron yoke or a wooden yoke (Jer. 28:13), unless one comes under the very light yoke of Christ (Matt. 11:30).
It is clear from Isaiah's word that the yoke that is upon us and the whole world will be broken by the oil (shemen) of God, which represents the anointing of the Holy Spirit. The word picture used here is about "the rock of Oreb," where the two princes of Midian were killed (Judges 7:25). Their names were Oreb and Zeeb. Oreb means raven, and Zeeb means wolf.
The raven (Oreb) is destroyed by the anointing oil of the Holy Spirit. It is a contrast between the raven and the dove, between the evil spirit and the Holy Spirit.
The raven is a bird of prey, even as the wolf is an animal of prey.
Gideon's army represents the overcomers in our day. We know this because the way in which they won their battle pictured the fulfillment of the second set of Israel's feast days: Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles.
They were instructed to give everyone a trumpet, a torch, and an empty clay jar in which to put the torch. A torch under such conditions would glow without a flame until the jar was broken, allowing the air to reach the flame. At that point, the glowing torch would burst into flame.
The trumpets signified the Feast of Trumpets. The clay jars, which housed the torch, represent our bodies, because as Paul says in 2 Cor. 4:7, "we have this treasure in earthen vessels." The treasure is the Spirit of God. At the present time, the presence of Christ is housed and hidden within bodies of clay, and they will be revealed at the appointed time, after the clay vessels have been BROKEN. This speaks of the Day of Atonement, the great day of repentance that is yet to come.
Then the light of God's presence will shine forth at the Feast of Tabernacles. Gideon's army thus represents those who have the divine presence in their hearts. But the fact that Gideon's army included only a small portion of Israelites--even a small minority of those who volunteered for action--shows that not all believers are actually qualified as overcomers.
The qualifications and disqualifications are shown in Judges 7, where the army was whittled down from 32,000 to 10,000 and finally down to a mere 300. The entire army of 32,000 represents the true believers in Israel. But the first group had to go home because of FEAR (7:3). In other words, their love was not yet perfected (i.e., matured), because perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18).
Being an overcomer requires a mature love. Immature love is eros; brotherly love (children still growing up) is phileo; but mature love is agape. All love has value and is good, but agape love is the requirement for being an overcomer. Let me add, however, that this does NOT mean that one must be absolutely perfect in order to qualify as an overcomer. No one is perfected until after the fact. The Feast of Tabernacles is required to perfect us; not the other way around. One cannot be perfected without the Feast of Tabernacles. So if a person had to be perfect FIRST in order to qualify for Tabernacles, Jesus Christ would have been the only one ever to qualify.
The second requirement for Gideon's army was in the way they drank water from the brook (Judges 7:5). Water signifies the Word of God. How one treats the Word of God will qualify or disqualify a person. In the story of Gideon, those who got down on the faces and drank indiscriminately were disqualified. Only those who scooped it up with their hands were qualified, because they did not simply "drink" everything that flowed down the stream. They watched for frogs, tadpoles, and perhaps some dung from upstream.
But I believe it is also important to recognize that the Midianite princes were named Raven and Wolf. Both are unclean by biblical standards, because the raven eats dead animals that still have blood in them, and wolves prey on others. In other words, both are bloodthirsty from a biblical viewpoint. In my audio tape, "How to Eat Clean Spiritual Food," I show the spiritual meaning of the food laws found in Lev. 11 and how those spiritual principles apply today, over and beyond the menu.
Being bloodthirsty is a qualification for the army of Midian, but it is a disqualification for being part of Gideon's army. The Kingdom will not be established by force of arms, but by the power of the Holy Spirit--the anointing oil. Men have attempted to establish their versions of the Kingdom of God for many centuries by armies and bloodshed, but they have only succeeded in establishing religious systems of men. And once they have succeeded, they have found that their hold on power must be maintained by continuous bloodshed of their competitors, whom they deem to be unrighteous.
Zechariah 4:6 tells us the true way of God:
"Then he answered and said to me, "This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts."
This is what Jesus set forth in the New Testament as well, for it is the New Covenant method of dealing with unbelievers. Those who remain locked into Old Covenant methods have had their day, and all have failed in spite of the rivers of blood. Jesus knew this well, and so He was truly the Prince of Peace.
This is the final part of a series titled "The Battle of Gideon Today." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones